Our second and last event for Friday, March 29th, was a program featuring Cleveland City Councilperson Basheer Jones’ 2019 State of the Ward 7 Address that took place at the East Professional Center on East 79th Street in Cleveland.
Mr. Anthony Williams was the moderator. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to stay to see the address by Councilperson Jones which took place in the latter part of the evening, but we did view several presentations by other prominent people about projects that seem destined to improve life in Ward 7, if not the entire City of Cleveland itself.
For instance, Mr. Jeff Epstein, Executive Director of Midtown Cleveland, talked about developments concerning AsiaTown, UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children, Digital C MidTown Tech Hive, and Dave’s Market and Eatery.
Mr. Epstein was followed by Ms. Caroline Marsi, Executive Director of MedWish International, who reviewed initiatives which will result in the directing of some of MedWish’s medical resources with the Cleveland communities and Mr. Dennis Burnside, President of Juniper Solutions, who, along with other collaborators, reviewed plans for the Hough-Ansel Residences, a five story student-oriented apartment complex scheduled for opening in August, 2020 and the new community park to be created on adjacent parcels under the operation of a new community land trust.
Next, Ms. Christin Farmer, Founding President and CEO of Birthing Beautiful Communities, gave an impassioned address regarding infant mortality and toxic stress issues affecting local families and then outlined the services that her organization offers to new and expecting mothers and fathers.
Closely related to the presentation of Ms. Farmer was that of Mr. Oronde East, Director of Education for Ward 7, who gave a very comprehensive examination of how the the learning process is adversely affected by such factors as the poverty rate in Ward 7, toxic stress, and the fallout from lead poisoning. By the use of slides, he demonstrated the need for children’s brains to be “injected continuously with positive reinforcement, high community expectations, and enriched history taught in an exciting and creative way…”
Mr. East concluded by reviewing programs available at the Hough Multipurpose Center and, in addition to tutoring/mentoring, these included workshops devoted to boosting self-esteem and character development as well as to strengthen the family structure in order to provide stability in a child’s life.
All of those who spoke praised Councilperson Jones’ constructive support of their efforts. Likewise, slides were displayed that celebrated the councilperson’s personal involvement in such actions as arranging for a washer and dryer to be provided to Willson School PreK-8 so that the children can be assured of having clean uniforms to wear.
When he gave the opening prayer, Reverend Deante Lavender, Campus Manager of The World Church-Akron, noted that even though he and Councilperson Jones were of different faiths (i.e. Councilperson Jones is a Muslim) he had nothing but respect for the councilperson’s intentions and his accomplishments.
Accordingly, Reverend Lavender surmised that Councilperson Jones, in the tradition of leaders of all religious faiths, was to be credited for “lifting us all up!”